Florida has answered the Department of Justice’s demand that the state stop its purge of voter rolls, and the answer is, “No.” – Rick Scott’s administration accuses the Feds of not understanding voter laws and further accuses the Department of Homeland Security of breaking the law by denying Florida access to its citizenship database.
In crafting his letter to the DOJ, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner seems to have conformed to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Detzner argues that the ban on purges within 90 days of a federal election, contained in the National Voting Rights Act, does not apply if the target is voters who were never eligible (non-citizens) in the first place. He adds that the DOJ demand for Florida to cease the purge may violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution if it helps unlawful voters cast ballots and, thus, dilute the weight of a citizen’s vote.
While not explicitly stating if and when Florida will resume the purge, Detzner asks four questions of he DOJ, and asks that the answers be given by Monday, June 11th so that the administration can determine what action to take. The questions are focused on what steps are required for Florida to remove ineligible voters from the rolls between now and the November election, and what responsibility the Department of Homeland Security has in providing Florida with its database.
When the purge was stopped last week, the 67 county election supervisors had already found so many mistakes with the state’s list that they determined the scrub was undo-able. The list was predominantly made up of minorities and many of those listed were citizens. On June 1st, Ron Labasky, general counsel to the supervisors professional group, wrote to the supervisors advising them to stop processing the list. He said, “I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court.”
Rick Scott and his gang seem to be inviting the Feds to take Florida to court, while not ruling out taking such action themselves. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi hinted that a suit against Homeland Security might be necessary to dislodge the information the state is seeking.
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